ISLAMABAD/ LAHORE : Caretaker Prime Minister Anwaarul Haq Kakar on Sunday instructed relevant authorities to formulate concrete measures within the next 48 hours aimed at reducing burden on the masses amid a public outcry over astronomical electricity bills.
The prime minister had called an emergency meeting, which lasted for nearly two hours, in a bid to address the complaints about excessive electricity bills.
During the meeting, representatives from energy and electricity-related ministries participated. A detailed briefing on electricity transmission and tariffs was provided by the power ministry.
“It’s inconceivable that while the common man grappled with difficulties, the prime minister and the bureaucracy were benefiting from tax-funded free electricity,” he emphasised.
PM Kakar instructed pertinent ministries and departments to furnish details of institutions and officers benefitting from free electricity.
The prime minister said that he represented the common man, emphasising the need to curtail power expenses at the Prime Minister House and Pakistan Secretariat. “Even switch off the air-conditioner of my room if it is needed,” he remarked.
He said that detailed consultation would be held with provincial chief ministers on Monday on steps to save electricity and on the issue of increased electricity bills in July.
The power distribution companies should give a road map for stopping electricity theft, he added.
The PM further said that reform plans in the electricity sector and short, medium and long term plans should be presented as soon as possible.
Caretaker federal ministers Shamshad Akhtar, Gohar Ejaz, Murtaza Solangi, Advisor to Prime Minister Dr Waqar Masood, Secretary Power, Chairman NEPRA, Chairman WAPDA and other officers attended the meeting.
The government’s actions were prompted by ongoing nationwide protests that began days ago and showed no sign of slowing down with the citizenry vowing to take drastic action if their grievances were not addressed promptly.
People across the country have been left reeling as shockingly high electricity bills landed on their doorsteps earlier this month. The unsettling surge in billing, coupled with the ever-increasing tax burdens, has unleashed a storm of frustration among the populace, who now see themselves on the precipice of financial ruin.
Meanwhile, threats of large-scale demonstrations loomed ominously on the horizon, warnings of a resort to civil disobedience.
JI to protest on Sept 2
Meanwhile, Amir Jamaat-e-Islami (JI) Siraj-ul-Haq announced a nationwide strike on Saturday, September 2, against fuel bills and inflation.
Addressing a press conference in Lahore, the JI leader said that people will come out on the streets from Karachi to Chitral against the cruel policies of the interim government.
According to a JI spokesperson, the party chief also called an emergency meeting in which central leadership and provincial leaders participated.
In the meeting, the current political situation of the country was reviewed and further acceleration of the ongoing movement against inflation was also discussed.
The party is also holding consultations to finalise a schedule and considering a sit-in in Islamabad against the brutal increase in electricity tariffs.